It’s official: Stranger Things star Brett Gelman is a Byler shipper. The actor behind Murray Bauman took to Twitter over the weekend to declare himself a fan of Will Byers and Mike Wheeler and call out any naysayers. However, as much as Gelman would approve of the teen romance, he also has a few conditions for the relationship. Here’s what Gelman had to say about Byler.
What does Byler mean in ‘Stranger Things’?
For those unfamiliar with the world of fandoms, many people use the term “ship” to say they’re rooting for a certain pair of characters to be together. In the case of Stranger Things, some popular ships include Eddie (Joseph Quinn) and Chrissy (Grace Van Dien), Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), Nancy and Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), or Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke) and Vickie (Amybeth McNulty). These pairings often have a nickname that combines their two names, like Jancy or Stancy.
Will Byers and Mike Wheeler (Byler, a combination of their last names) is also a popular yet controversial ship in the Stranger Things fandom. Will (Noah Schnapp) has never outright said he’s gay on the show, but Stranger Things has been dropping subtle hints about his sexuality since season 1. The clues have become more blatant over time, from Will’s mother dodging a question about him being gay to Mike (Finn Wolfhard) making a blunt comment about Will not liking girls.
Many viewers thought it became abundantly clear in season 4 that Will had hidden feelings for Mike. The biggest tip was Will’s Dungeons and Dragons painting for Mike. Will also sobbed in the van as he talked to Mike about Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) feeling different, likely referring to himself in a subtle way.
‘Stranger Things’ star Brett Gelman said he’s a Byler shipper under the right circumstances
Many Stranger Things stars have spoken about Will’s sexuality, including Schnapp and Brown. Brett Gelman is the latest to share his thoughts on Byler. On July 17, Gelman took to Twitter to call himself a “big time” Byler shipper. However, he stressed that Byler should only happen “if Byler is for Byler.”
“If it’s a match, then it should be so. I’m not for Byler if Mike isn’t for it because then Will gets hurt. And I also don’t want El to have a broken heart,” he wrote. “But if Byler is what is meant to be then I ship Byler BIG TIME!!!”
Gelman’s tweet stirred up a fuss among some of his followers who may be against Byler. He later called out Twitter bullies in another message.
“It’s pretty pathetic that all you little homophobes think calling me gay is an insult. It’s a compliment. So thank you,” Gelman added. “I ship love in whatever form it takes baby. And y’all who don’t. Maybe you’re scared to look at something.”
Noah Schnapp confirmed that Will Byers is gay and ‘loves’ Mike Wheeler
A few weeks ago, Schnapp urged fans not to “put a label on Will.” At the time, he didn’t confirm or deny if Will is gay — he simply commented on his character’s confusion as a young teen. However, Schnapp changed his tune in a recent interview with Variety. This time, he said it’s “100% clear that he is gay and he does love Mike.” Unfortunately, Mike may not feel the same way, which caused some awkward tension in season 4.
“I think for season 4, it was just me playing this character who loves his best friend but struggles with knowing if he’ll be accepted or not, and feeling like a mistake and like he doesn’t belong. Will has always felt like that,” Schnapp said. “All his friends, they all have girlfriends and they all fit into their different clubs. Will has never really found anywhere to fit in.”
Stranger Things Season 4 is now streaming on Netflix.